Study Guide

Great Expectations Chapter 44

By Charles Dickens

Chapter 44

  • Pip finds Miss Havisham sitting by the fire with Estella knitting at her feet.
  • There's some eyebrow-raising upon Pip's entrance, as both women detect that something about him has changed.
  • He tells the women that he now knows who his benefactor is, but that this information won't help him become wealthier or more of a gentleman.
  • When he was asked to be Estella's playmate all those years ago, was he just a servant?
  • Yep. Miss Havisham confirms this, and tells Pip that the fact that Jaggers worked for both her and his benefactor was simply a coincidence.
  • That was totally mean, says Pip.
  • Miss Havisham has a Wicked Witch of the East moment and snaps her cane on the ground wrathfully, proclaiming that she has no reason to be kind to anyone on earth.
  • Pip then asks Miss Havisham to be kind to Mr. Pocket and Herbert Pocket, and then—brace yourself—professes his love to Estella, in front of Miss Havisham and everything.
  • Estella just shakes her head.
  • In the meantime, Pip tells Estella that he understands that Miss Havisham's intentions weren't entirely evil; that he recognizes she became so caught up in her own misery to notice that Pip was becoming just as miserable. Miss Havisham is totally touched by this and puts her hand to her heart.
  • Pip continues to bare his soul to Estella, to which she replies that she doesn't feel a thing, that she's heartless, and that it is not in her nature to love anyone.
  • What about Drummle? Estella replies that she's completely fed up with that word, "love," but she is going to marry Drummle.
  • Pip is heart-broken and so are we. He begs her to marry anyone else, but the decision is made.
  • Estella asks Pip whether he's a "visionary boy or man" (44.64), and Pip launches into one of the most beautiful speeches of literary history. Trust us, you'll need to consume an entire carton of Ben and Jerry's after you read it. At the end, Pip says, "Oh, God bless you, God forgive you!" (44.70).
  • Estella is stunned. We're stunned. Miss Havisham is stunned.
  • Pip feels like he's been stunned. He leaves Satis House, but he can't go back to the Blue Boar for fear of seeing the spider. So, he does what any of us would do in the same situation: he walks all the way back to London.
  • It's midnight when he crosses the London Bridge. He gets to his apartment building, and the porter at the gate gives him a note. The note says, "DON'T GO HOME."
  • Oh, jiminy crickets.